Perhaps it seems as if Louisiana is a bystander in the coming national election, where there are many other states and congressional districts fraught with inter-party competition than in our corner of the political world.
Louisiana has no senatorial seat up this year, as only one-third of senators are scheduled for election every two years. U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, is the earliest up, having been elected for a six-year term in 2014 and thus facing re-election in 2020.
Further, and with due respect to somewhat credible challengers who have emerged in several districts, the political pundits by and large give most members of the delegation in the U.S. House favored status, with only a short time until the Tuesday Nov. 6 Election Day.
One more competitive district is the 3rd, including Acadiana and southwestern Louisiana, where freshman U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins of Port Barre holds the traditionally Republican seat; he is challenged by a Democrat, Mimi Methvin, and a Republican, Josh Guillory, who have raised a decent amount of money for their races.
Still, Republican pollster John Couvillon told the Press Club of Baton Rouge recently that he expects the current members of the delegation to return, perhaps without even a runoff in the 3rd District. That view was echoed later by U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson, R-Benton, another Republican freshman who faces re-election this year.
That number, Johnson said, includes the sole Democrat in the delegation, Cedric Richmond of New Orleans, whom the Republican member called an important asset to the delegation in seeking bipartisan support for Louisiana needs.
Still, it is the voters who have the final say. How loudly will they speak? Turnout last year in a statewide special election, for state treasurer, and a race for New Orleans mayor was a dismal 13 percent.
Couvillon noted that there are more races this year, including judgeships and local offices around the state that might help drive turnout. Nor are Louisiana voters immune from the national debate about the direction of the country and angst at some of President Donald Trump’s erratic tweets and, in justice, some policies — a tariff war with China, for instance — that hurt Louisiana’s interests.
All that said, we hope for a better turnout of voters, including for the statewide special election for Louisiana’s secretary of state.
Early voting continues until Tuesday and many voters, like those in other states, choose to cast ballots before Election Day.
A turnout as low as last year’s would be dreadful.
— The (Baton Rouge) Advocate